Dear Negative Reader

Dec 29, 2006

Dear Negative Reader,
It’s funny, I almost never go on the board. I think I can count on one hand the times I’ve seen the message board. I would pick tonight. I’d had a nice evening out with friends. I’d read a chapter of Trin’s new Fairy Realm book to her. Then for some reason, we look at the board. I look at the board.
Let me say that all of you that hate the books, and have decided not to read them anymore, I am happy for you. I know that when a book series that I read takes a turn I don’t like I stop reading it. I put it down and I walk away, and that’s that. If you’re unhappy with my books, and have decided you never want to read another thing that I write; great. I mean that. Life is too short to read books you don’t like, so if you’re not having a good time, stop doing it. I’m sure there are other books out there that will make you happier than mine. There are books with less sex in them, God knows. There are books that don’t make you think that hard. Books that don’t push you past that comfortable envelope of the mundane. If you want to be comforted, don’t read my books. They aren’t comfortable books. They are books that push my character and me to the edge and beyond of our comfort zones. If that’s not want you want, then stop reading. Put my books away with other things that frighten and confuse or just piss you off. I have my list of stuff like that. So good for you, you’ve decided not to read me anymore. Good luck, God speed.
But let me say, one thing puzzles me. When I decide not to read an author, or series again. I don’t go on their message board and keep talking about the books I don’t want to read. I don’t say that I stopped reading at a certain book, but strangely, am still able to talk in detail about books that have come out since then, thus making people reading my post wonder how I know so many details if I haven’t read the books. Either A: You have read the books, and don’t want to admit it. Or, B: You haven’t read the books and you are taking your opinion from the posts of others who have read the books, and hated them. Those are the only choices I’ve been able to come up with. If there is a more logical explanation, I can’t find it. Either you are closet readers, or you’re letting others read them and report back to you like negative scouting. So you’re left with an opinion based on someone else’s opinion, or you are reading the books in secret. If the latter, you seem to hate yourself and me for the fact that you read the books. I recommend you don’t read the books, it will save you pain, and give you more time to read things you like. It seems a logical solution.
Let this post also put to rest the idea that I don’t know that a small minority, albeit a loud minority, hates my series. I’ve known that for awhile. Like the first time someone stood in line for hours at a signing, smiled at me, and had me sign the book, then said to my face, “I hated this book. I hate what you’ve done with the series.” I blinked at them, and said something like, “Sorry to hear that.” When I ask, “Why do you read the books then?” Answer, “I keep hoping they’ll get good again.” Jon and I have heard variations of this across the country from a maybe five people. But strangely, having someone say to your face, that they hate your books and at least twice, that they hate you stand out in our minds. Since I wouldn’t stand in line for hours to tell someone I loved their work, the fact that people stand in line for hours to tell me they hate my work, just puzzles the hell out of me. I don’t get it guys. I’m not going to get it. I finally realized that I’m not going to understand this noisy, unpleasant minority of my fans. Because you are fans. Only fans would spend this much time and energy on anything. It’s a strange kind of fan, a negative fan, but you spend so much time and energy hating and complaining that some part of you must love the hate and complaining. It’s the only explanation I’ve been able to come up with. But I don’t really understand.
And if you don’t think you are the minority, well, sorry, guys but you are. I have the sales figures to prove it. Each book?s sales are more than the last. The vast majority of people standing in line love the books, love the series, and tell us so. Some people even ask for more police procedural. I want more, too. If the person asks nicely, not rudely, or in that tone that seems to imply if I don’t do what they want the series is doomed to failure, I listen. The arduer is a pain in my, and Anita’s butt, too. But I believe in my world. I’ve done this major metaphysical event. I won’t just ‘fix it’ because it’s hard to write around. God, knows, sometimes it is. But the arduer is moving along. I’ve got my fix in mind, but it’s logical, not something that’s merely convenient, or because some people hate it. But the arduer is not going away. If that’s what you guys are wanting, then it ain’t happening. Leave now, because more arduer awaits. The arduer is evolving, as are Anita’s powers, but I don’t see the arduer going poof.
As for the people who keep suggesting that I simply start killing characters because Anita has too many men in her life . . . The characters aren’t real to you. They are real to me, and to a lot of other people. I, and a lot of readers, would feel an emotional loss if some of these guys died. Obviously, you, negative reader, do not feel anything for the people you would urge me to destroy. I am sorry you do not love them, or at least like them, as I do. I have failed as a writer that you could kill them, and feel nothing. There are series out there that have many fewer characters. Go read them. There are series out there that it’s obvious the writer sees the character only as a plot device, a means to an end. Go read those people, and you and that kind of writer can have a good, non threatening time. You can read about people that the writer could and does kill with little or no remorse. But I am not that kind of writer. I don’t enjoy reading that kind of writer, so I don’t write that way. My characters are real to me in a way that makes me miss them. For God’s sake, I’ll be in the mall and see something, and go, “Oh, it’s the perfect gift for (fill in the blank).” I’ve been in line with the present in my hand, before I go, “Wait, these are make believe people. I can’t buy them a Christmas present.” I guess I could, but there’s no way to give it to them. They aren’t THAT real. But they are real enough that I see things that make me think of them in the way you think of a boyfriend or a husband, or a best friend. To suggest that I just start killing some of them, to make things easier to write and more comfortable for you, negative reader, to read, is sort of well, you put in the word. I can think of several, but you choose. You choose with this understanding. The holidays are only just past. Think back to the moment you stood in line, or saw in the window, that perfect gift. The one that you knew would make someone smile. That gift you knew, you just knew, would light their faces up. Remember how warm and happy it made you to find that present. Remember the anticipation of the joy it would bring the person you care about? Now, remember that I’ve done the same thing for many of the characters you would have me kill. They aren’t real, but sometimes they feel real to me. If that level of involvement with imaginary friends seems crazy to you, well, then I can’t explain it. You either understand that the biggest disappoint some years is that I can’t walk into the other room and hand that imaginary person a present that I know they would love. I wouldn’t know what to do with most of my characters for real, twenty-four seven, but sometimes I, like the positive fans, wish they were real in a way that mere imagination cannot make them. Maybe you, my negative reader, did not understand how I feel about them. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. You didn’t understand that they are real to me. Or maybe this will not move you, maybe you do not feel for the loneliness of the vampires that have not known love for centuries. Maybe you do not feel for Anita’s torment as she’s pushed further and further outside her comfort zones. Maybe you do not feel any of that. If you don’t feel it, then I have failed you as a writer. I am sorry for that. If you do not feel the touch of my characters, the emotional pain, the emotional triumphs, then I have failed you. You should stop reading me. My writing does not weave magic for you. I am sorry. Go, with my blessing, but do please go. I have done my best for fourteen books, and it is not good enough for you. I cannot reach you. It must be some failing in the writing, in me, but whatever the cause it does not speak to you. Go, and find someone who does speak to you. Someone who’s characters are plot devices, so the books are neat, understandable, clinical, and utterly organized. My books are logical, to me, understandable to the vast majority of my readers, but they are not neat, they are not utterly organized or clinical. They are big, messy books, a lot like life. I wish you luck out there finding a writer that speaks to you. If we all liked the same kind of writer we’d all read the same books, and we don’t. So go out there, find someone you like better, read them. You will be happier. I want all my readers to be happy, so go be happy. Enjoy the rest of your life. I mean that. I’ll give you guys a few minutes to stop reading this, or to go into another room. I’ll give you a few minutes, before I talk to the positive readers that are staying.
If you are still a negative reader, please leave. Please do not read beyond this point. Warning, warning, warning. The next bit of this message is for the positive people. For the people who love my characters, or at least don’t hate them. Negative readers, are you gone? Are they gone? Did they leave? So hard to tell online.
Okay, now it’s just us positive people. Yea! For those who are positive people, and are continuing to read the Anita series, here are hints about THE HARLEQUIN. First, Edward is in the book in a major way. Second, so is Olaf. Yeah, serial killer guy is back. Anita ends up feeding full blown arduer on three characters she’s never been with before. And she, and I, are okay with them. Some of the stuff in DANSE MACABRE was over the edge of whatever for both her and me. Anita is really, really, looking forward to having more control over the arduer. I can’t tell you who the three characters are without giving too much plot away, sorry. I’ll ask Darla and Jon if there’s a way to hint without spoiling it. I am sooo bad at hinting. One of the wereanimal groups will betray Jean-Claude, and Anita. Marmee Noir will be back. Belle Morte makes a guest appearance that caught me, and Anita by surprise. Nathaniel will be asking Anita to step up to bat for their relationship. What does that mean? Let’s just say that what Nathaniel wants out of a relationship and what Anita wants out of one, may not match. Relationships are all about compromise. I know, I know, Anita doesn’t compromise, but she’s trying. She really is. The Church of Eternal Life is back on stage. Malcolm is coming to Anita and Jean-Claude for help. You know he must be desperate to come to them, and he is. We learn what happens to bad little vampires when the council decides to act. You didn’t really think they did their own dirty work, did you? Asher gets to show there’s a reason beyond sentimentality that he is Jean-Claude’s second in command. We finally get to talk to Edward about his domestic arrangements in more detail. Is he, or isn’t he? Will he, or won’t he? Should he?
Are those enough hints? Are there too many? I hope it whetted your appetite, but didn’t drive you nuts not knowing exactly what I’m referring to. There’s so much else I could put down, but I’m not sure I could do it without giving too much away.